It’s been about two months since I took a pretty big leap of faith. After spending 8 years in the corporate world, beginning in pharma/medical device sales, then to digital marketing, and building a strong foundation in social strategy and consulting – I’ve left that space. I’m now doing what I’ve dreamed of for quite some time, bridging my passion of food, creativity and business into what feels like the greatest gift.
If you talk to anybody who has taken this path, they’ll tell you it comes with a bundle of emotions. It’s exciting, anxiety provoking, freeing, frustrating and wonderful all at the same time. I’d been working up to this point for about two years, knowing that while I loved my job here, my heart was being tugged in other directions.
So I began working on freelance projects, writing my book and pouring more of my heart into this space while also working full-time. My plan was to build up experience and my personal brand before taking the leap, to make it less scary and feel a little more secure.
I did just that, and on March 19th I became my own boss, grinning ear to ear. My days are now happily filled with brand consulting & strategizing, recipe development, food styling & photography and copywriting projects.
But I have to admit, it has has shed some light on my Type A personality, both a blessing and a curse. No matter how much planning I do, projects or consulting sessions I have on the books, there is still that feeling that more is needed. Late nights, early mornings, the need to always be “doing”.
It’s something I’ve always struggled with. I know I need to manage the “never good enough” attitude if I want to be healthy enough to do anything.
Instead of looking at it as a negative trait, which I often fall into the trap of doing, I have a new perspective thanks to an online friend I had the pleasure of meeting in person while I was in California (more on the trip in another post – including my visit to the Cat Cafe).
It all starts with self compassion. As we sat and discussed what that meant for all parts of health, both mental and physical, it resonated with me.
She mentioned the willingness to work with your traits or situations, not against them. Deciding that you are going to embrace these things as a gift and actively find the blessing in them is self compassion. It should feel like loving acceptance, moving towards the things that cause you trouble and trusting the journey you’re on.
It’s not something that happens overnight, but an ever evolving process of self growth and awareness. It’s a shift in how I meet life each day. And having this to focus on has given me a new light to lean on.
With the change in my daily schedule, I absolutely love being home more to cook and create all the time.
The combination of roasted cauliflower, roasted grapes and rosemary comes from one of my earliest recipes, that actually got picked up by Food & Wine Magazine this year, part of their January 2015 issue. It was pretty exciting to find it snuggled amongst the pages, thanks to an Instagram friend spotting it.
I wanted to turn the recipe into a main dish from a side so I made garlic rubbed cauliflower steaks, paired with a simple chutney of the deeply flavored roasted grapes, rosemary, and shallots. If you’ve never roasted grapes, you’ll be amazed at the caramelized sweetness. In fact, it’s a great way to rescue any kind of fruit that’s near spoiling.
For the cauliflower:
1 medium to large head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Chutney:
1 1/2 cups red grapes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss grapes with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast for 18-20 minutes, until grapes are softened and shriveled. The juices will start to lightly caramelize. Meanwhile, bring remaining olive oil to medium heat in a small skillet. Add remaining rosemary & salt, shallots, and garlic. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat, and stir in grapes when they are finished roasting. Set aside.
Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and some of the stem if it is quite large. Starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut two or three (1-inch) thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem end. Rub steaks carefully with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Cut the piece of garlic in half and rub the cut side over the entire service of the steaks.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Then pour 1 1/2 tablespoons water into skillet and quickly cover. Cook for 3 minutes – this will help cook the cauliflower all the way through. Remove cover and cook for 2 minutes longer, until cauliflower is mostly tender.
Serve steaks hot or at room temperature, with chutney served over the top.
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Such a gorgeous dish. I love the contrast in color and flavor!
aw, thank you friend! the chutney is one of my favorites. :)
I just tried this recipe. So delicious!!
So great to hear Cindy! Had you ever roasted fruit before? I find myself doing it more and more these days. Thanks for sharing that you enjoyed this dish.
Oooh, roasted GRAPES? Garlic rubbed cauliflower steaks? WHAT *IS* THIS MAGIC?!
MAGIC you need to try! :) i can’t resist the sweet, savory combo.
Absolutely love this idea! I’ve never roasted grapes before, but I can only imagine how amazing they would be with rosemary and perfectly roasted caulilfower steaks! Props to you for quitting your FT job to pursue your passion. I did the same thing last summer! Left political consulting for health coaching and grad school to become a nutritionist. Haven’t looked back! But I have the same type-A issues…i feel like there’s always more I can do. It keeps me working late at night and early in the morning too! I’ve been getting better about it, but it’s hard! But hey, at least we’re doing something we’re so passionate about we don’t want to stop working!
this looks so delicious and tasty!!!! yumm
I love this post, thank you so much for sharing. I’m a Type A perfectionist, but more to a fault. I tend to beat myself up for not being good enough, looking at things half empty (i.e. instead of seeing how much my blog has grown, seeing how small it is, getting frustrated). Self-compassion and positivity go such a long way, and I’m trying to treat myself with more kindness. And as you share, working with your traits! That’s such an inspiring concept. P.S. GORGEOUS photos!
Thanks for stopping by Steph, and the kind words about the post. Sometimes it feels so good to open up and know that others have the same struggles. We can all do so much with a little more self care. xo
That is exciting news! I am hoping to make the same leap one day (funny, I am also a bit of a type a personality. By bit, I mean totally, haha), as I am not feeling as inspired by my desk job as I am by going home and cooking every night. Congratulations! I love your work, and I know you will do so well.
Making this dish tonight! My husband will love it!
Oh I love roasted grapes! Such fun bursting flavor bombs!
you described it perfectly – total flavor bombs! i’m curious to try it with green grapes, as they usually aren’t as sweet and often have more water content. would be interesting i think.
Congrats on taking the leap and following your dreams. It take real courage and determination to make big changes and you’re doing it!
Amanda, huge congratulations to you for your big leap! That’s such great news! Honestly, I always figured you blogged full time – you post such top quality content so often! I can’t believe you’ve been working a busy corporate job this whole time. And I love your words about self-compassion, which is so important but so overlooked by most of us. Lastly, this recipe looks absolutely fantastic. I love roasted cauliflower and bet it tastes amazing with rosemary. And a roasted grape chutney? Simply genius, Amanda! And you’re right, what a great way to use up those mushier old grapes that we’ve forgotten about in the fridge.
Julia, thanks for your words of encouragement. Our paths are ever-changing, which just creates new journeys. So there’s always a positive side no matter what happens! I’m excited to see what the future holds. And yes, I can’t get enough roasted savory fruit things. They’re so juicy and flavorful! xo
I’ve never had roasted grapes. Looks yummy!
woooooooo hoooooooooo! I’m soooooo excited for you!!!!! like, more excited than excited.
also, those cauliflower steaks!!!!!!! (!!!)
I had a really yummy cauliflower steak with a chunky tomato sauce drizzled a few weeks then, and ever since then I’ve been obsessed with cauliflower steaks! I came up with several different variations in my head, but I’m not sure any of them would compare with that grape chutney!
You are amazing, and an inspiration. Thanks for rocking my world :)
oh that chunky tomato sauce version sounds awesome. cauliflower steaks can be so versatile! and thank you for your kind words, having inspiring women like you in my life is such a blessing. xo
The chutney looks amazing! I am always looking for new ways to prepare cauliflower. Thanks for sharing!
thanks for stopping by Sue! let me know if you make it, hope you enjoy! cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable isn’t it?
So glad you shared this, Amanda. The “never good enough” feeling is something I understand well. :) But you’re so right, working with those traits and not against is such an important thing to remember! I have been wanting to make cauliflower steaks for a long time now, so I can’t even wait to try them with this chutney. Beautiful!
Congratulations on achieving your goal after all the planning and careful prep work. This is BIG!
Congrats to you on going full-time with your passion! I know that if I’m ever lucky enough to reach that point, I will definitely struggle with “turning off” and feeling like I’ve ever done enough. I feel that way now and my blog is not even remotely close to being my job. So I feel you on that Type A personality thing! I’m sure it will take some time to settle into, but it sounds like you’re off to an amazing start. yay!!!! :-D
So happy for you! Best wishes! And I will definitely be trying this recipe!
Thank you Stephanie! I appreciate your kind words and you stopping by. Hope you enjoy the cauliflower steaks!
Take care of yourself. A wise woman once pointed out to me that you need to re-fill the well occasionally, so you will have something in there to keep pouring out.
thank you for being such a great mentor Robin. and those are definitely wise words i’m going to hold close to me, xo.
Oh Amanda, you are enough! So much love to you, I love this post, xo!!
Sherrie, thank you. Your words mean so much. Strong women like you are an inspiration. xo
I have to make that roasted grape chutney.. it looks pretty incredible!
So happy for you, Amanda…and congratulations on taking that leap of faith! I know how scary it is, but your blog is beautiful and you are very focused so good things are always sure to come your way.
I love roasted grapes and how you’ve paired it here with the cauliflower steaks (my recent newer love…cauliflower!!). Making this when grapes are more available – a keeper of a recipe. :)
This is such a stunning recipe! The roasted grapes….simply amazing!
Another beautiful post, friend. You truly have a way with words, and what you said about self compassion really resonated with me.
And this dish is so lovely. I love how this chutney feels like something really special, but is so easy to make. You have a knack for nourishing, beautiful food.
I love the flavor of roasted grapes! This looks great!
Congrats on the exciting leap! I hope someday I too will be able to make this leap, but I know it’s a little farther away than I hoped at the moment. I also have the Type A struggles sometimes, feeling like there is just WAY too much to do and eventually succumbing to throwing my hands up in the air and claiming I won’t do ANY of it. Ah, well, as long as we stick together we can keep pushing through, right? Your pictures are stunning Amanda, keep them coming!
Looks like an amazing dinner! I love cauliflower and the roasted grapes sound wonderful with it.
makes great leftovers too :) the crispy cauliflower bits that fall off while searing are so tasty too!
I LOVE THIS!! Your words here are spot on. I am going to try this recipe, it sounds delicious and your pictures turned out amazing.
Congratulations on taking the giant leap. Yes, the mix of emotions that accompanies major life shifts — especially changes that are within our control because they seem to invite more self-doubt but these transitions also feel inevitable as we follow our hearts and do what we love… and there rests the boundless potential. So exciting! Your photos are just stunning Amanda — and this recipe could not be more appealing to me on every level. Loved this post, your reflections and the gorgeous inspiration. Thank you!
Thank you Kelly. One of the things I’m enjoying is that every day is different, and it feels good to finally be able to concentrate on something without feeling like I should be doing something else. And if worse comes to worse, I can always try and use my skills in other areas. Appreciate your kind words, xo.
Your words here are ringing to true for me right now, Amanda. And these pictures turned out GORGEOUS – I also succumb to the “never good enough” attitude all to often, but am trying to remember that it’s a process of growth. Your photos and recipes are so inspiring – I can only hope to be as creative as you with flavors in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing a piece of your creativity with me last week:)
it’s hard, something i think so many of us deal with, which is why i wanted to share my thoughts. the positive in all of it is that we wouldn’t be who we are without both the good and not so good traits, right?
i want to be back in the kitchen with you! so much fun. it was great to learn from you, and see all of the East Bay. now if i can just figure out how to move out there…
Congratulations on taking the big jump into the world of freelancing – how exciting for you and I’m so looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you! And I love the idea of turning what are perceived as ‘negative’ traits into something that should be embraced. It’s something we talk a lot about at work but it’s not always as easy to put into practice!
Hi Amanda! I have taken a similar leap, no longer working 9-5 and finding projects that are writing and food related (my two great loves). It can be stressful because there is no promised paycheck. But your comment about trusting your instincts and your path is so important and so very true. You’re work is beautiful!! xx
These cauliflower steaks are gorgeous, Amanda! And that chutney sounds absolutely delicious. I too, struggle with a “never good enough” mentality and I’m working to fight this.
It’s good to know I’m not the only one in that boat… we can all lean on each other! It’s so important to have a strong support system. xo
Who’d ever have thought cauliflower could look so beautiful? You’ve nailed it with this dish! And I love that wisdom of working with your traits instead of against them — I’ll remember that whenever my Type A personality feels like it’s “getting in the way.” :)